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Biden will ask Americans to wear masks for his first 100 days; optimism growing for virus relief bill
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Biden will ask Americans to wear masks for his first 100 days; optimism growing for virus relief bill

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President-elect Joe Biden told CNN's Jake Tapper on Thursday that he will ask Americans to wear masks for his first 100 days after he takes office.

"Just 100 days to mask, not forever. 100 days. And I think we'll see a significant reduction," Biden told Tapper during his first joint interview with Vice President-elect Kamala Harris since winning the election.

Biden also said he has asked Dr. Anthony Fauci to be a chief medical adviser and part of his COVID-19 response team when his administration begins next year.

Meanwhile, optimism about delivering long-sought COVID-19 relief is building on Capitol Hill after additional rank-and-file lawmakers voiced support for a bipartisan, middle-of-the-road plan taking shape in the Senate and as top congressional leaders connected on the topic for the first time in months.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell — frequent rivals but proven dealmakers — spoke on the phone Thursday, a conversation that came the day after Pelosi signaled a willingness to make major concessions in search of a COVID rescue package in the $1 trillion range.

Pelosi's spokesman announced the telephone conversation, tweeting that it was “about their shared commitment to completing an omnibus and COVID relief as soon as possible."

“We had a good conversation. I think we’re both interested in getting an outcome, both on the omnibus and on a coronavirus package,” McConnell said.

In other developments:

  • States drafted plans Thursday for who will go to the front of the line when the first doses of COVID-19 vaccine become available later this month, as U.S. deaths from the outbreak eclipsed 3,100 in a single day, obliterating the record set last spring.
  • It’s been a tough year and 2021 could get off to a rough start too as multiple pandemic-related programs and protections for millions of Americans come to an end.
  • Facebook said Thursday it will start removing false claims about COVID-19 vaccines, in its latest move to counter a tide of coronavirus-related online misinformation.
  • In the most seismic shift by a Hollywood studio yet during the pandemic, Warner Bros. Pictures announced that all of its 2021 film slate — including a new “Matrix” movie, “Godzilla vs. Kong” and the Lin-Manuel Miranda adaptation “In the Heights” — will stream on HBO Max at the same time they play in theaters.
  • Santa Claus in the Coronavirus Age involves visits conducted with layers of protection or online. Putting hundreds of kids daily onto Santa's lap to talk into his face — that's not happening for most. The physical attributes that make the perfect Santa align perfectly with those that make COVID-19 especially deadly.

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